A proper little madam

Another Karen! Ok she’s not white and she’s not calling the manager but shut up, she is a Karen. She doesn’t do what male journalists tell her to do. Bitch.

Naomi Osaka, currently the highest-paid female athlete in the world, announced that she would withdraw from the French Open. She cited preservation of her mental health, the same explanation she’d provided earlier when she publicly declined to participate in tournament-related news conferences.

“Diva behavior,” declared the lead sportswriter of the Telegraph, following the news-conference revelation. “World sport’s most petulant little madam,” decreed Piers Morgan, taking a break from his bizarre Meghan Markle fixation to harass another young woman of color.

Karen. Karen Karen Karen Karen.

So from my limited, headline-osmosis understanding of the sport, here’s what I have discerned: Damned if you’re Naomi Osaka refusing to participate in a news conference. Damned if you’re Naomi Osaka three years ago, agreeing to participate in a news conference, and then fully half of the questions are about your opponent’s behavior — Osaka bested Serena Williams in a controversial match — and you end up apologizing for winning.

Damned if you’re Serena Williams, asked on the spot to publicly translate your anger into a “teachable moment” for your daughter. Damned if you’re Maria Sharapova being informed at age 17: “You’re a pinup now, especially in England. Is that good? Do you enjoy that?” Damned if you’re Serena Williams having once competed against Maria Sharapova, and a reporter approaches you at the French Open in 2018 with a question he says he’s “been waiting about 14 years” to ask, and the question is whether, more than a decade ago, Williams was “intimidated” by Sharapova’s “supermodel good looks.”

Ok but have some sympathy for the reporters, because what can you say about a female athlete? They’re just not interesting the way male athletes are. Reporters didn’t make that decision, nature did.

A 2016 Cambridge University Press study analyzed the language used to describe male and female athletes in the media. The most common words used for men but not women: “fastest,” “strong,” “big,” “great.” The most common words used for women but not men: “unmarried,” “married,” “pregnant,” “aged.”

Hollywood and politics have been dealing with the issue of the problematic news conference for years. The hashtag #AskHerMore was born from the exhaustion of women who longed to be quizzed on anything besides [what] they were wearing or whom they were sleeping with.

What else is there though? Women just aren’t interesting, remember?

H/t Sackbut

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